Lack of consultation in Camp Reserve upgrade plan

John Lewis, Castlemaine

I fully agree with Trevor Butcher that upgrades to the Camp Reserve sporting facilities are long overdue (Mail September 23) but disagree that the Master Plan was ‘settled’ in 2020. Yes, the council did endorse this plan in September 2020, and has since funded planning for the pavilion and netball courts. However, I feel the plans are contestable owing to the lack of community consultation during development of the Master Plan and since.
Consultation by council has been almost exclusively with the Camp Reserve committee, which represents the sporting clubs, the Show Society, and the Lions Club. When the community was consulted, the council chose to reject their feedback, along with recommendations from the council officers, the independent heritage consultant, and the council’s Heritage and Urban Design Officer, to instead adopt the ‘committee-preferred’ plan. The committee does not represent all users of this public reserve or the Castlemaine community. Other users include all who use the reserve for informal recreation, who walk their dogs there, who transit the reserve, who look across the reserve from their homes, who walk or drive past the reserve, or who value our unique gold rush and town heritage.
The Camp Reserve was first proposed as a reserve for public use in the 1860s and gazetted for public recreation in 1895. It remains an integral part of the ‘Camp Reserve and Environs’ heritage precinct and planning overlay, which includes the original 1850s buildings nearby. MASC planning guidelines for this overlay discourage developments of a ‘suburban’ character and require ‘the appearance and environmental qualities of the Barker’s Creek and Camp Reserve’ be protected.
A plan to bury the unique history and aesthetic significance of the Camp Reserve beneath a suburban-style sports pavilion and netball courts needs to be contested.

Castlemaine Mail
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